As petrol prices and the cost of running a car continue to rise each year and more emphasis is placed on ways we can go green, drivers are starting to think more carefully about their options when purchasing a new car.
For many, a car is an important and expensive purchase; we not only use them to get from A to B but want them to be stylish, efficient, and comfortable to drive. And today among the many decisions you can make about the car you drive, the engine inside it is another important one. As technology continues to improve, more and more consumers are choosing hybrid cars over traditional petrol or diesel engines in an effort to keep running costs down and help the environment along the way. But what is a hybrid, and how can you decide what’s best for you?
What is a hybrid?
A hybrid car is one that combines two different methods of propulsion to run – the first, a traditional petrol or diesel internal combustion engine, and the second, an electric motor. Typically with a hybrid vehicle you can use each of the power sources separately or can work together.
For example, a hybrid car might automatically make use of the electric motor when driving at low speeds over short distances, switching to its petrol engine for more demanding driving and faster acceleration. While in motion, any excess power that’s generated by the engine will be used to directly recharge the electric motor’s batteries. Drivers can also choose a plug-in hybrid, which allows for a larger electric motor that can handle even longer drives.
In contrast, some hybrid cars use the electric motor to assist a smaller engine but can never drive fully using the electric motor alone. If you’re seriously considering a hybrid model, you can learn more about the different kinds of vehicles and exactly how they work through online guides like this one on hybrid cars from consumer watch group Which?.
Choosing what’s best for you
Both Hybrid and electric cars have their advantages so do your research to find out what’s best for you. While hybrid vehicles are seen as more environmentally friendly, it’s also possible to purchase a fuel efficient vehicle that helps to minimise pollution.
Other considerations include price; hybrid cars tend to be slightly more expensive than their traditional counterparts because of new technology and small uptake in the market. However, over time the running costs can be much more affordable and there are often tax and insurance incentives to go green. Guides like the Telegraph’s list of 10 cheapest hybrid cars are a great place to begin your search and get an idea of how much a hybrid will cost.
How much you intend to use your car and how much you’re willing to spend are two of the most important considerations when choosing what kind of car to purchase next – you might find if you are restricted in your budget or intend to use your vehicle for a long daily commute that a petrol or diesel engine is more convenient for you. You can find reviews and comparisons of popular makes and models online at What Car? Magazine’s website, or if you’re searching for a used car, Glass’s is a leading motoring guide that can offer support on everything from car valuation to searching for the right dealer.